Home     Isaiah         


Pastor Stephen Muncherian
January 2, 2000

This morning I’d like to share one verse of Scripture with you - a familiar verse - and one of the most important in the Bible - Isaiah 7:14. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”

In 741 B.C. - at the time of this prophecy - the kings of Syria and Israel had joined forces and were attacking Judah. Ahaz was the king of Judah. He was a wicked man who had no faith in God. He refused to trust God for protection. Instead, King Ahaz took vessels of gold and silver from the Temple - sent them to the king of Assyria and hired the Assyrians to attack the kings of Syria and Israel.

In the midst of all of this intrigue and destruction - with the fate of Judah hanging in the balance - God sends Isaiah to Ahaz to ask him to trust God. Ahaz tells Isaiah, “I don't need God's help. I’ve already hired the Assyrian army to save us."

God chooses to give this faithless - wicked - king a sign that goes beyond anything Ahaz could have imagined - a sign to demonstrate that God is in control of what will happen to Ahaz and Judah - of what will happen to Syria and Israel and the Assyrians - that God is in control of all future history. This is the sign recorded in Isaiah 7:14: “Behold a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”

Only God could accomplish this: A young Jewish girl - of the family line of David - unmarried - a virgin - will conceive - will bear a son - and that son’s name will be Immanuel - meaning “God with us.”

Some 750 years later the angel Gabriel comes to a Jewish girl named Mary - of the line of David - a virgin - engaged to Joseph - and speaks to her these words: “Mary, behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High” - the Son of God - God with us. (Luke 1:26 ff.)

Imagine what the fulfillment of this sign means for us this morning.


We sing the words of Charles Wesley: “Hail the incarnate Deity, Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Immanuel.” (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing)

The virgin birth of Jesus was not an accident. God’s plan of redemption didn’t start in the manger in Bethlehem - or in the womb in Nazareth. It was planned by God - conceived in the mind of God - before the beginning of creation.

Before time - God graciously chose to come to us - to be with us - in the flesh and blood of humanity. Before Adam was created - God knew Mary and chose her to be a part of His plan of salvation. Just as Mary was in the mind of God - so are we.

The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 1:4: “He chose us in Him - Jesus - before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.”

God has chosen to come to you.

God desires for each of us to know salvation through Jesus Christ. He wants to work His work of grace in our lives - in our areas of deepest need. He desires to work through each of us - to bring change in our relationships - in our families - our church - our community. God desires to free us from our prisons - to carry us safely through the experiences of life - to give us hope and purpose - to bring us to eternity with Him.

Imagine the possibilities of this - God is with you.


Will we open ourselves to God’s working in our lives?

Imagine Mary - a young Jewish girl - chaste - faithful - devout. She’s engaged to Joseph. Which means that she was eligible to be engaged - a woman of intelligence - mastering the skills of running a home - trustworthy - responsible. A woman of good reputation and character. Her world is ordered and predictable. One wonders if she was even thinking about the coming Messiah - that she would be the virgin mother Isaiah spoke of.

Now - in a culture that stones adulteresses - she’s told that she’s about to become pregnant outside the boundary of marriage. What must have gone through her mind - what fears and uncertainties? How was she suppose to explain the pregnancy to her family - to Joseph?

There’s a choice here - and Mary needs to make it. The angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will conceive” - future tense. She hasn’t conceived - yet.

Mary asks the question, “How can this be, since I’m a virgin?”

Gabriel tells her, the “Holy Spirit will come upon you...the power of the Most High God will overshadow you.” God will do this in you - but you must choose to let Him.

Mary responds - she chooses, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.”  (Luke 1:31,34,35,38)

It would be so easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking that Mary was somehow a superhuman - supernatural - individual with divine powers. There are a lot of people out there who have raised Mary beyond what the Bible tells us - some even to the position of being equal to Jesus.

It would be easy to look at her and compare ourselves, “I’m no Mary. How could I ever have her faith? God could never work in my life like He worked in hers.”

In all of history there was only one Mary - mother of Jesus. But Mary is an ordinary person - bound by the same flesh and circumstances that each of us are bound by. A sinner - needing the Messiah - Jesus our Savior.

Ahaz knew about God. He had the prophet Isaiah speaking God’s word to him. Ahaz chose to trust the Assyrians - and his kingdom was left desolate. Mary had the angel Gabriel speaking God’s word to her. She chose to trust God - and we see the results.

So we have a choice. We hear these words, “a virgin shall conceive” and we know the fulfillment - Immanuel - God is with us. But we need to chose to respond - to chose to allow God to work in our lives. Regardless of the consequences, will we trust God? Will we surrender ourselves to the work of God in our lives?

If you remember nothing else this morning remember this: Open yourself up to God - trust in the God who has come to be with you - and He will take you - and do the miraculous in you and through you.